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Torah Commentary Blog

Chukat (July 16, 2016)
by Jessica Ingram

THIS WEEK’s TORAH PORTION, CHUKAT, is heavy with grief, in many shapes and forms, permeating every element of the narrative. We first learn of the death of Miriam. There is no mention of a burial or communal mourning, but immediately following the announcement of her death, we read that there is a scarcity of water. The Sages of the Talmud created a beautiful midrash from this juxtaposition: Because of Miriam’s integrity, enthusiasm and courage, a well followed her throughout the desert, and upon her death, the well dried up.

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